Hoops: Texas-OU Winner Could Share Big 12 Title

There is no Golden Hat Trophy at stake when No. 4 Texas faces No. 5 Oklahoma at 3 p.m. (ABC-Sports) in Norman Saturday, but there should be. There is plenty on the line when the Border War heads north of the Red River, including a possible share of the Big 12 title.

Both teams are 21-5, 12-3 in conference play. The winner will share the league crown with No. 6 Kansas if the Jayhawks fall at Missouri Sunday. The Tigers have not lost at home all season, but the Sooners haven’t lost in Norman since God was a boy. Oklahoma owns the nation's longest home court winning streak at 37 games. The Sooners lead the Big 12 with their 60.5 opponent scoring average. What’s more, it’s Senior Day in Norman. (Bye, bye, Hollis Price).

Still, the Horns know a thing or two about ending streaks for Okies. Texas stopped an eight-game OU win streak in the series, 67-61, when the Sooners visited Austin on February 10. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State had the nation’s longest winning streak at 15 games when Texas slapped them around on January 29, 78-65.

A Longhorn win would rank as the school’s most significant since Texas upended Purdue to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in 1990. UT’s last triumph in Norman was a 64-60 decision in 1999.

"We’ll go in expecting a tough battle," point guard T.J. Ford said. "When they were here, it came down to the wire."

The tilt will mark the fourth game this season that both teams will be involved in a matchup of two Associated Press Top 10 squads. The Longhorns have played at No. 1 Arizona; No. 9 Oklahoma State; and No. 5 Oklahoma. Additionally, Texas and Oklahoma are the only teams in the Big 12 to finish among the top three in the league's final regular-season standings in each of the last five seasons.

The victor will earn a higher seed in conference tournament (March 13-16) and a possible No. 1 seed in the Big Dance when selections are announced March 16.

This is what can be said for certain regarding Texas’ seeding in the Big 12 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the American Airlines Center in Dallas March 13-16: Texas, OU and Kansas have already earned a first-round bye and will not take the floor until Friday’s quarterfinals.

If Texas loses at Oklahoma Saturday, the Horns will be the tournament’s No. 3 seed and will most likely square off against either Oklahoma State or Colorado at 8:20 p.m., Friday, March 14. If Texas pulls the upset in Norman, the Horns will claim the No. 2 seed and would likely face either Texas Tech or Texas A&M at 6 p.m. Friday.

Regardless of seeding, a Texas win Friday would result in a 3:20 p.m. matchup Saturday against (more than likely) Kansas or OU in the semifinals.

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